Wow! All the way up to Part 12 already! A few more of these, and this is going to start turning into a story!
The Dragon, The Wench, and Her Wardrobe
© 2011 Sheila McClune
I took a deep breath and turned back to Max. “Now then, as I was saying, I think we’re going to have to splint that arm.”
“Really, now that it’s not being jostled, it’s fine, honest it is. I’m perfectly willing to just lie here and wait for the EMTs.” Max’s voice sounded small and scared.
I knelt back down beside him. “Look, Max, I’m gonna be honest with you. I don’t think the EMTs are coming. I’m not entirely sure they could even if they wanted to.”
“What do you mean?”
“You know that the green shimmery thing, back there on the train?”
“Well, the dragon told me that it’s some kind of a gate or a portal between our world and this world.” I hugged my arms to my chest. “And he says that the last time the gate opened was a thousand years ago. So I don’t know if anyone else can even come through, or whether they would if they could.”
“Of course other hoo-muns can come through the Gate,” the dragon rumbled from over my shoulder. “But you’re right. They’re probably too cowardly to do it.”
“We aren’t cowardly.” I turned to face the dragon. “We’re cautious. And anyway, how do we know that gate-thingy is even still open?”
The dragon chuckled. “You can see it, can’t you? If you can see it, it’s open. If it disappears, then it’s closed. I should have thought that was pretty obvious.”
“Wait, wait.” Max tugged on my sleeve. “Go back a second. A portal? Between worlds? But…we’re not in another world. Are we?”
I sighed and gestured toward the dragon, Vanna-White-style. “Please allow me to present Exhibit A: One dragon, of the fire breathing variety. Do we have those back home?”
“What?” I asked.
“I was sorta hoping he was just a hallucination, from hitting my head on your…on you.”
I squirmed. Our first meeting had been rather…intimate, hadn’t it? “I don’t think we can get rid of him that easily. He wants to take us home and show us off to all of his dragon friends. But that’s still beside the point. I think we need to splint your arm, so we can move you somewhere more comfortable once you’ve stabilized a bit.” I stood up. “So I’m going to hike over to the train and see what I can find that we could make a splint out of. I’ll be back–”
“No!” The word came from both the dragon above me and the man on the floor in front of me simultaneously.
“I’ll only be gone for a few minutes,” I told them both. “I’m coming right back.”
“No, please don’t leave me alone w-with…with the dragon,” Max pleaded. “What if he decides to eat me?”
“Don’t leave me here with him,” begged the dragon. “What if he starts spewing forth again?”
“Oh, for heaven’s sake, you two! I’m walking over to the train and back, not going to Mordor.” I started to pick my way through the rocks littering the cave floor.
I hadn’t gone more than about five steps when the dragon’s claws slid in front of me once again. “No, little hoo-mun. Stay here. I will fetch what you need. What should I bring you?”
“Well, I had a suitcase, about yay big,” I held up my hands to show him the size of my carry-on, “and it’s purple and has wheels. I had a coat, too, black wool.” I’d bought it specially for the trip to Boston, wanting something more sophisticated than my old parka for when I met Paul. I shook my head, not wanting to think about how long it might be, now, before I actually got to meet Paul. If ever. “Max, what kind of a bag did you have?”
“Mine’s a backpack. Blue and black. And a black fleece jacket.”
“Right, then. Two black coats and two travel packs.” The dragon glanced toward the train. “I shall return in a few minutes.”
“But, Dragon,” I wanted to know. “You’re too big to fit into the train. How are you going to get our things?”
The dragon’s laugh rumbled through the cavern. “Watch and see, little hoo-mun.”
He lumbered off into the darkness, taking far less time to walk over to the train than I would have. I climbed up on top of a nearby boulder so I could have a better view, curious to see how the dragon would retrieve our things.
He did not disappoint me. With a painful screech of tearing metal, he reached out with his razor-sharp claws and peeled the roof right off of the train. With a shudder, I remembered how close those claws had been to my tender torso.
It was my turn to whimper.